Monday, June 21, 2010

‘Ahura Mazda is the supreme God’


By Shevlin Sebastian

At 8.30 a.m., Bakhtiar Dadabhoy, an author and a senior officer of the Indian Railways stands in front of a photograph of Prophet Zoroaster, and says the kusti prayers. (These are the daily prayers that a Parsi recites, while tying and untying the cord, called the kusti, worn around the waist).

These prayers are in praise of the Parsi God, Ahura Mazda.

“He is the supreme God of the Zoroastrians,” says Bakhtiar. “He symbolises truth, purity, justice, courage and strength.”

Incidentally, the prayers are said in Zend, the ancient language of the Persians. The Parsis came to India from Persia (modern-day Iran) in the 10th century to escape religious persecution.

Following the kusti prayers, Bakhtiar focuses on his individual concerns. “I pray for peace of mind,” he says. “We are lacking tranquility these days.” He also asks for guidance to make the right decisions in life, for protection against ill health, and the evil designs of people.

Asked whether God is an illusion, Bakhtiar says, “Even if we don’t believe, the thread of God runs right through all our lives. If you keep your eyes and ears open, you will realise that God is always speaking to you. It might be though intuition, or by somebody who gives a word of advice, or help, at a time when you need it the most.”

He says that one night an idea flashed across his mind to write a book. “Looking back, I am sure that it was God’s prompting, because it came out of nowhere,” he says. “I had never imagined a career in writing, since I am a civil servant. But it changed my life.”

Bakhtiar went on pen several books, including Jeh: A Life of JRD Tata, a well-received biography of the late industrialist, as well as Sugar in Milk: Lives of Eminent Parsis.

Once in a while, Bakhtiar goes to the ‘Most Holy of the Holy’ of the Parsis: the Iranshah Fire Temple at Udvada, a small town in Gujarat. “I feel happy there because the vibrations are calm and soothing,” he says.

Asked whether he gets upset with God when bad things happen, Bakhtiar says, “I used to get angry, but now I am trying to face negative events in a philosophical manner. I believe that when you resist, it persists. So, accept with grace and the event loses its power on you.”

Bakhtiar then elaborates on the Zoroastrian religion. “Our faith stresses good thoughts, words and deeds,” he says. “We believe that the world is a battleground between good and evil forces. Man should assist God in getting rid of evil.”

Zoroastrian theology apart, Bakhtiar also believes in non-duality, as propagated by Adi Sankara. “Man is part of God, but has not realised it,” he says. “It is the feeling of separateness, created by man’s ego that prevents him from becoming a divine being.”

(The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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